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Crescent Blues Book ViewsBantam Books (Paperback), ISBN 0553582143
Iris Johansen creates immensely fulfilling male characters, James Bonds with souls and an almost complete lack of misogynistic ways. In Body of Lies, readers meet two such characters; Joe Quinn, lover of Eve Gordon; and Sean Galen, the man Quinn hires to protect Eve when she buries herself in her work, hurt by Quinn's betrayal.

Book: iris johansen, body of lies
Both men are filled to the brim with testosterone and pent up aggression, the kind of man who would terrify in real life, but entice when captured safely on the page. Mysterious and violent backgrounds, uncanny talents in all the predatory, as well as protective manly arts and hard good looks make for scintillating characters.

Eve Duncan, forensic sculptor extraordinaire, takes a mysterious assignment in Baton Rouge while reeling from Quinn's betrayal of trust. She arrives and finds herself captivated and disturbed by the old stone church in which the reconstruction will take place. Before she can begin to work on the skull however, she almost dies of food poisoning. Waking in the hospital, she finds herself saddled with a protector she doesn't really want: Sean Galen, a self-proclaimed provider and smoother of the way. Eve finds out what this means as Sean saves her life time after time.

As evidence of a trouble grows, Galen summons Quinn. His presence torments Eve, proving both comforting and saddening. But events force Eve to push such emotions aside when the skull she is working on brings more to the surface than a simple identity. Soon she finds herself in hiding from those she thought her protectors.

Body of Lies never lets up, encouraging one-sitting reading. Eve, Quinn and Galen all prove to be intriguing characters with their own quirks and faults. Unlike many female characters in books of this blended suspense/spy/romance genre, Eve does not simply simper in the background while the men duke it out. She plans, plots, argues and fights with them, earning their respect and the reader's. Body of Lies manages to be simultaneously thought provoking and fast paced, all while weaving in captivating romantic elements.

Ceridwen Lewin

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